I’ve heard a lot about “multitasking” for about 20 years.  There was a lot of hoopla about home PC’s becoming powerful enough to multitask, and ever since then, management types seem to expect humans to do it.  And humans seem to think that they can do it.  The idea behind multitasking is that a computer would have enough processor power and memory that it would be able to handle instructions from more than one program at the same time, rather than taking the instructions or queries sequentially.  This became a huge buzzword when the general public was used to having PC computers, and the Microsoft Windows ads were showing that the user could have a word processing app open, as well as a spreadsheet, and have the ability to make changes in either, and switch quickly back and forth. 

What really happens is that the programs are optimized with threading, but I won’t bore you with those details.  The geeks among us have that part down.  My point is that people cannot multitask.  There is even Legislation forbidding it.  If you are multitasking on the job, what i means in reality is that you know the timing of several tasks, and operate on something while you would otherwise be waiting for another. 

Somewhere along the line, management got the idea that people are actually able to do several things that require attention to detail and great care, all at once. 

Can you?  really?

One Reply to “Multitasking”

  1. You know what? I can do it. Yes really. I can work just like Microsoft Windows. I can do a task, then switch to another one and do it. wait that is still one task at a time. Well if Microsoft can fool everyone, I can as well. Like right now I am typing and thinking at the same time about how to type and what to say. that is about the extent of what I can do other than to have several computers doing different jobs at the sames time, I can manage that – I Am A Systems Administrator

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